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How to Open a Daycare Center in Georgia
To start a daycare center in Georgia, several requirements must be met. Georgia has very specific requirements of the types of licensing you need to acquire, which depends on how many children you plan to care for at your center. You must obtain very specific training and orientation sessions before you open your center.
Determine the type of day care you wish to open. The State of Georgia has three types of day care center requirements. A Family Day Care Home (FDCH) must be located in a private home and care for up to six children. A Group Day Care Home (GDCH) provides care for 7 to 18 children, while a Child Care Learning Center provides care for 19 or more children. The licensing requirements are different depending on which type of unit you are planning to open.
Obtain a license that is issued by Bright From the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning. You can contact the agency or visit Bright From the Start's website to obtain an application packet and applicant guide.
Attend a Licensing Orientation Meeting (LOM) if you are opening a Family Day Care Home (FDCH) or a Registration Orientation Meeting if you are opening a Group Day Care Home (GDCH) or Child Care Learning Center (CCLC). You must also attend a 40-hour director training course that is approved by Bright from the Start before you can obtain a license.
Obtain the required first aid and CPR training and certification. The training must be administered by health care professionals who also train in providing emergency care to infants and children. The American Red Cross, as well as local community colleges and independent training centers offer approved courses for daycare providers.
Purchase emergency supplies such as a first aid kit and first aid manual. Purchase adequate play materials that conform to state regulations. Visit the Georgia School Supply site to purchase educational materials. Purchase adequate rest materials for nap time, including cribs, and make sure all items meet safety specifications. The home daycare center must have a working telephone and a fire extinguisher.
Create a meal plan for children and infants by making a weekly calendar. Break each day down into "Breakfast," "Lunch" and "Snack." Determine which types of nutritious food and drinks you will provide for each meal. For example, the breakfast for children could include cereal, bananas and 1 percent milk or apple juice. Review USDA recommendations for serving sizes. Information is available at the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion by visiting its website (see Resources section).
Set up a filing system for records for each child which must be filed on site. This includes information regarding the child's health such as any allergies, the child's physician and health care provider and parent's contact information.
Ensure the home meets all safety requirements including making sure electrical outlets are covered and hazardous materials are stored properly and are inaccessible to children. Adequate fencing, 4 feet or higher must be available to keep children away from unsafe areas.
Ensure any staff that you hire undergoes the Livescan Fingerprint check. The Bright From the Start Website as comprehensive information on the Livescan Fingerprint checks.
Based in Richmond, Va., Susan Ayers is a senior learning associate for a financial organization. She previously developed web-based training for Circuit City and spent a number of years creating eLearning courses for a not-for-profit law enforcement organization. Ayers graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English from Virginia Commonwealth University and holds a master's in education from St. Joseph's College.